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Alison Smith Fay

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Since her first tax class in law school, Alison knew she wanted to practice in an area that dealt with tax, numbers and analysis. Once she discovered the nuances of ERISA and employee benefits, Alison was hooked -- always seeking a way to simplify the complexities in this vexing area of the law. This almost constantly evolving practice requires a deep understanding and commitment to stay on top of the nuances and updates, communicating them clearly to clients and to the marketplace. Clients say that Alison’s knowledge and wisdom are what create functional and winning employee benefit solutions.

Alison has extensive experience in health and welfare and tax-qualified retirement plans including 401(k) plans. A significant portion of her practice is representing clients before the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor. She also provides advice regarding fiduciary responsibility issues under ERISA. In her work with employers, Alison has negotiated, advised and conducted due diligence reviews related to business mergers, acquisitions and other dispositions. This includes resolving issues in connection with tax-qualified plan mergers and spin-offs, plan terminations and corrections, COBRA and executive compensation.

Clients turn to Alison for the design and implementation of non-qualified deferred compensation plans, including 409A issues. Part of her practice is to advise employers regarding the Affordable Care Act compliance, cafeteria plans, COBRA and HIPAA.

A sought-after speaker and author, Alison has lectured frequently on employee benefits issues for professional and industry trade groups.

Representative Speeches and Publications
“Final Regulations on Individual Coverage HRAs Are Issued-An Opportunity for Small Employers?” Fay, Alison and Boutwell, Sherrie.

Journal of Pension Benefits, vol. 27, no. 2, 2020

“Individual Coverage HRAs: A Roadmap to Satisfying the Employer Mandate without Providing Traditional Group Health Coverage.” Fay,

Alison and Boutwell, Sherrie. Journal of Pension Benefits, vol. 26, no. 4, 2019

“COVID-19: Employers’ Action List for Employee Benefit Plans.” Fay, Alison and Boutwell, Sherrie. National Association of Women Lawyers, Women in Compliance, June 2020

“Expanded EPCRS and Determination Letters.” Fay, Alison and Veldkamp, Katrina. Western Pension & Benefits Council Orange County

Chapter Technical Lunch, August 2019


California State Bar, 1981


Hastings College of Law, University of California, J.D., 1981, Order of the Coif

Stanford University, A.B., 1975


ABA, Tax Section, Labor and Employment Section, Employee Benefits Committees Chair, Pacific Coast Area TE/GE Council
      Board Member, Joint TE/GE Council
Orange County Bar Association, Tax Section, Labor and Employment Section State Bar of California, Tax Section, Labor and           

      Employment Section
Board Member, Western Pension & Benefits Council, Orange County Chapter

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